This week I received invitations to attend or present at 3 separate conferences in the next two months or so. All of them asked me to submit an outline of what I would like to present on and how i would like to present it.
Don't get me wrong, I love presenting to teachers. The ones that attend conferences like those being organised by Brescia House (http://www.brescia.co.za/ict-conference), The Ridge (http://www.khululafoundation.org/innovative-teachers-institute) or FutureEd(http://www.future-ed.co.za) are open minded and looking for new ways to make the process of education better.
The question that pops up in my mind is what are teachers looking for in these conferences?
Should we be networking or learning from experience Should we be trying to find content or creation? Should we be just taking in the atmosphere?
For me conferences have always been about getting in touch with like-minded people. I love to be able to bounce ideas off teachers (not educators!) who have different or opposing philosophies on the process of education, +Sean Hampton-Cole springs to mind. I have had the privilege of helping my school hold their own conference over the past few years and love the energy that a good session or idea can create. I have been to Google, Apple, Microsoft and all sorts of other bodies meetings and enjoyed many of the experiences they offer, particularly when local teachers share what they are doing!
So...what do you look for in a 'conference' and how do you decide whether it was successful or not?
PS, I intend to apply for all three of the above-mentioned and if I don't present I will attend.